Sunday Short Story - The Simple Bird

A bird was flying across the sky. It landed on a lawn. The air was fresh, the breeze was light, and the sun was cool. The bird noticed someone crying in the distance, sitting on a lawn chair outside of a house.

When the crying had finished, the bird flew over to the person, who now looked corpse-like on the chair.

"What's happened?" chirped the bird.

"I'm not sure if I'll ever get the job I want," said the person, with a tone of resignation.

"Oh. What's a job?" asked the bird.

"Just something we do so we can earn money to buy stuff, to pay for food, clothes, houses, cars and stuff like that," said the person.

"Oh," said the bird. "So do you have a job?"

"Yes," said the person. "But I hate it, I really want a different one."

"Oh," said the bird. "Where is your job?"

"About fifteen minute's drive away," said the person.

"Oh," said the bird. "So if it’s that far away, why is it making you cry?"

"Because I know I have to go back there again and I really don't want to," explained the person, having some patience with the bird who was obviously not intelligent enough to understand his problem.

"Oh," said the bird. "So don't go back then..."

"No, you don't understand," said the person, now becoming impatient at the bird's lack of understanding, "I have to go back so that I can pay my bills and buy food!"

"Oh," said the bird, beginning to understand this person's dilemma. "So if you have to go back there, and you feel you have no choice to just stop going, then what is the purpose of your unhappiness?"

"I don't like it there. I don’t like the people or the work that I do."

"But what is the purpose of your unhappiness, what does it do for you?" enquired the bird.

"Well I..." suddenly the person asked themselves the same question. They began to speak out loud...

"Well the reason for my unhappiness, I thought, was because I hate my job."

"Yes," said the bird, "but has the unhappiness helped you to get a new job, or helped you to no longer go to the job you have now?"

"...No," said the person, slowly "...but, I can’t really be happy about it can I?!" he remembered.

"You don’t have to be anything at all," the bird said, "but your feeling unhappy does not seem to help you."

Suddenly the person began to feel lighter, they felt slightly happier, but not through trying to be happy...

"So what about getting another job? How can I do that if I'm happy with my current job?"

"You misunderstand," explained the bird, "you are not happy with your job, you are just no longer unhappy. You see that your unhappiness is not helping you resolve your situation. Without unhappiness, would you still not want another job?"

"Well, yes, of course, but it is not such a big deal now...and I've realised that I've been assuming this job will be forever, again and again, but that is not true either..."

"What do you mean forever?" asked the bird.

"Oh...nothing," said the person, realising the bird did not know what time was. "So, ok, well – thanks," said the person. "That’s great, I don’t have to be unhappy, and I can still go for another job."

"Yes, of course," said the bird, and off he flew, forgetting everything that had just transpired.

From the book: